Monday, November 9, 2015

Personalized Learning & JWP

From October 26th to October 28th I attended the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) Personalized Learning Summit in Park City, Utah.  Each day was filled with rich experiences that highlighted the outstanding innovation taking place in schools across the United States.

  • AASA, School Improvement Network, and Board Docs provided a cooperative sponsorship of this experience.
  • Superintendents from 24 US States and the District of Columbia attended (70 superintendents in all)
  • Two Schools in Utah were visited: Innovations Early College High School & Park City High School
Media & Film
On Monday, October 26th we started our time together with a screening of the movie, Beyond Measure.  This movie was produced by Vicki Abeles who also completed The Race to Nowhere which is now available on Netflix.  Beyond Measure tells a story about innovative practices being employed in public schools throughout the United States.  I joined several other superintendents in this screening experience which was a great start to our three days together.

Link to Trailer:

Highlights of the Movie:
  • Personal growth over test scores
  • Inquiry over mimicry
  • Passion over rankings
  • Transformation over transmission
  • Driven by students
  • Facilitated by staff

Innovations Early College High School was our location of learning on Tuesday, October 27.  We began our day with Kenneth Grover, High School Principal of the school.  Mr. Grover shared the school's journey to provide personalized learning experiences for all enrolled students.

After our time with Mr. Grover we were afforded the opportunity to rotate through five "panels".  The "panels" were made up of students, teachers, parents, administration and a building tour conducted by the students of the school.

Here are some highlights from the panel discussions.

Student Group:
  • Assigned adult mentor
  • Content is personalized and self paced
  • Example: One of the students shared his completion of all graduation math credits in his freshman year
  • Students are delighted with the system
  • 80% on work is considered mastery
  • Students do not move on until mastery is achieved
  • Relationships with teachers/mentors are strong
Teacher Group:
  • Weekly check-ins with students as their mentors (Ratio of 1:46)
  • More time for mentoring/teacher EACH student
  • Less stress and more direct impact
  • Consistent professional growth, weekly PLCs
  • Relationships with teachers/mentors are strong
  • Teacher as facilitator
Parent Group
  • Meets their student's needs
  • Students enjoy the experience and set up
  • The environment is respectful
  • Strong relationships with teachers/mentors
Building Tour
  • Non-traditional setting
  • Students choose learning environment
  • No class periods
  • Weekly content meetings called by teacher
  • Setting was filled with mentorship
  • Welcoming and warm environment
  • Collaborative setting

On Wednesday, October 28th we spent time at Park City High School with a direct experience in their CAPS program.  At PCCAPS, there focus is on providing students with real-world experiences lead by mentors from area businesses.  For more information, follow this link:

Here is a video highlighting the students perspective of their experiences:

Here are some short videos I captured using Vine of students presenting:

Summary of Experience
  • These are exceptional modern exemplars of education
  • Most schools in the United States are still using a 19th century factory model of education
  • Changing to a personalized learning experience is a fundamental shift in the way we do business
  • There is a sense of urgency, the time to make this shift is now!
The Future
  • Development of Communication Protocol
  • Create a Task Force (fiduciary, community, parents, students, staff, etc...)
  • Kotter's (2005) 8-Steps of Creating Change
    • Create a sense of urgency
    • Form a powerful coalition (task forces)
    • Create a vision for change
    • Communicate the vision
    • Remove obstacles
    • Create short-term wins
    • Build on the change
    • Embrace the culture
The first step toward change is awareness.  The second step is acceptance.
~ Nathaniel Branden

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